May 8: Let’s Celebrate All Child Care Providers!

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Some children were understandably afraid when face masks became common this spring. Not skipping a beat, local child care providers simply reminded them that “super heroes wear masks.” Quite appropriately, the child care providers were wearing masks themselves.

Walk past one of our UW Children’s Centers during outdoor time and teachers’ super powers will be super evident. In any moment a child might need a hug, tissue, help with their clothing, redirection, reassurance or support in a teachable moment. You’ll see each teacher doing all of those things, but for multiple children all at once. You may wonder whether the providers actually do have extra eyes and arms, or bionic hearing. You won’t question that they have super-sized hearts and deep expertise.

Today the University of Washington is proud to join communities across the country in celebrating Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, an occasion to recognize the super heroes who nurture, educate and care for children while their parents are working, studying and serving in their communities.

On a typical day, more than 2 million individuals provide care for other people’s children in day care centers, in-home child cares, preschools and before- and after-school programs. This number does not include friends, family, neighbors and nannies whose care is similarly critical to children’s well-being.

These caregivers not only shape young lives in enduring ways, they also make it possible for parents to give their best at work and school, knowing their child will be safe, cared for and engaged.

Honoring our child care providers this spring takes on a more profound meaning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our child care centers worked quickly to do what is best for children and families by adopting new protocols to keep children, employees and families safe.

Local providers prioritized care for first responders and health care workers, making child care truly essential to our community’s COVID-19 response.

While today celebrates providers everywhere, UW takes special pride in acknowledging the teams at our UW Children’s Centers on the Seattle campus, at Harborview and at UW Medical Center – Northwest and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education’s emergency child care center.

We thank them for supporting our employee’s and students’ families every day and for their extra hard work these past two months.

COVID-19 changes have also caused unique and significant challenges for UW employee and student parents. Today we also celebrate everyone who is caring for their own children at home while working, studying and taking care of routine business and chores. We recognize how difficult this is and encourage compassion with yourself and children while we figure this out together.

The difficulty caused by COVID-19 disruptions to family routines underscores the importance of child care to children and their parents. That’s why today, we invite employee and student parents to recognize their caregivers by sharing a photo or testimonial via this form to express appreciation for our amazing child care providers.

Photo: Judit Marsillach

From Judit Marsillach, Acting Assistant Professor; Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics:

“We feel so thankful to have such amazing caregivers for our toddler. This is for you, Nadia, Deanna, Helen, Bridget and Ashley, and Kate, Frani and rest of the West Campus team.

“You all have been so caring and worked so hard to keep all of us safe. Thank you for setting up our Google Classroom and for sharing tips and keeping all of us in touch. Hope to see you very soon.”

Photo: Emily Holm Tobin

From Emily Holm Tobin, PhD Student, Research Assistant:

“Thank you to all of the wonderful child care professionals, and especially to the amazing staff at the UW children’s centers! I could not be successful as a student parent without all that you do.”

From Keats Landis, Program Coordinator – Coaching and Professional Development at Cultivate Learning/UW

“To Ashleigh Anselment, the Burlington Center manager of Burlington Inspire Development Center/Migrant Head Start. Migrant Head Start is opening on May 13 for the children of migrant families.

“Thank you tremendously, Ashleigh, for all of the incredible and critical work you and your center does for these families which help the rest of the country put delicious wholesome food on the table. Ashleigh has been involved in child care for many, many years. She normally knows all of the answers. During this unprecedented time, she has had to say, ‘I do not know the answer but I will get back to you with one.’

“The teachers will be wearing gloves and face masks with prepackaged snacks and meals served as opposed to their family style form of eating. Many changes for health safety will occur, but the center will open with their awe-inspiring and loving staff nonetheless for these amazing and courageous families next week. The Centers include an ECEAP program during the winter. Learn more about Inspire Centers throughout Washington here.”

Share your story or appreciation for a child care provider in your life—a partner, a relative, yourself, someone at UW or in your community!

For more on supporting your children or any you’re caring for, join us May 20 for the virtual seminar Supporting Parenting During COVID-19 with Mindfulness. On May 28, learn about planning your child’s summer during COVID-19 at a virtual seminar on Programs for Youth.